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Published:August 4th, 2008 11:56 EST
The Festival of Nagpanchami

The Festival of Nagpanchami

By Rasha Lamba

Hindus in India celebrated "Nagpanchami" on 30th of July-- as dated by Hindu religious calenda-- enthusiastically, and with great significance. On this auspicious day, they celebrate and perform religious ritual for Snake God-- especially "King Cobra"-- as this particular reptile in the Hindu mythology is the king of all snakes. King Cobra, or Snake God, symbolizes our relation with eternal circle of life and death. His vivacious toxin reminds us the silence of danger, and deepens in our souls the avoidance of darkness. We pray to him for our protection from all wildernesses around.

Nagpanchami

Hindus believe that our souls take on several births on this earth, or we can say re-incarnate several times, unless and until we truthfully perform our worldly duties so that our soul becomes as pure as the holy water of the river Ganga. Then, only, we can leave this physical world forever to meet in heaven our God almighty. In this whole process, the first life we get in this world is in the form of snakes and after that a human life and then it goes on. But, the life in the form of human is the most precious of all. So, it is obvious that we don`t want to get in the circulation of re-birth again, and for that we pray to God to take our souls after death to heaven and promises that the beautiful human life he had given to us will be away from all Sins. But, this human life is so hypnotic that our souls got entangled in the worst only in this precious span of life.

As "King Cobra" also symbolizes an association as a soul mate with Lord Shiva-- the creator of this world in Hindu religion, we are reminded that Death is also one face of God almighty, and of his eternal power and we should be very afraid of his anger. With the spreading of beautiful monsoon, thus started the celebration of Lord Shiva also. In the big temples of Lord Shiva, we can worship both of them, The God and his soul mate. Also, the snake charmers roam about in every street of every city, especially this day and also throughout this month, go door to door with one or two "King Cobras" with each of them. So, if not in big temples, in our homes with our prayer for protection offers the snake God fruits, milk and many gifts to the charmers as they wait the whole year for this only day and by offering all these, we make our soul satisfaction.

Religious rituals including bathing of Lord Shiva with his soul mate "King Cobra" around his neck or the Shivlinga, which also resembles Lord Shiva, with milk and pure holy water of the river Ganga by the devotees from all over India in different temples, particularly "The Kawaridias"-- a special group of devotees who gather in the temples from all over India, mostly from the rural areas, as they come form their places. They arrive by walking or sometimes running for days with pure water of Ganga in big earthen pots hanging from their shoulders, with a help of a rope and a small bamboo stick, and thus making the event spectacular and magical with a feeling that this time the creator will be really pleased and change something in this world for our good.

So, in India, the celebration of "Nagpanchami`, the worship of Lord Shiva and the spreading of monsoon brings a start forward to a marvelous and religious living.